There’s nothing quite like the mountains in fall, as you know if you’re lucky enough to call northern Utah home. With cooler temperatures and fantastic fall colors making their debut, there’s no excuse not to get out and enjoy the scenery.
With summer over, there may not be time for full-fledged camping getaways, but northern Utah has plenty of spectacular hikes you can get to and do in a day—or even just an afternoon.
So if you’re itching to get out and see the beautiful sights fall has to offer, try one of these trails:
Grotto Falls a local favorite for fall foliage, and it’s family friendly. The trail is part of the Nebo Loop. Take 600 East southward from Payson into the canyon and follow the signs. It’s only .6 miles round trip, and you (and your kids) can enjoy splashing in the waterfall at the end.
These trails form a loop in Millcreek Canyon. It can take three hours or so to do the full loop, and there are connecting trails along the way if you’re in the mood to explore. The entrance to the canyon is at Wasatch Blvd. and 3800 South in Salt Lake City. $3 gets you in for the day.
The hikes in Millcreek Canyon are perfect for fall because they’re covered in aspen groves. And if you’ve been around aspens in the fall, you know their leaves turn a bright, shimmering golden color that’s simply stunning.
Another family friendly hike, the trip up to Buffalo Point is only .4 miles up to the top, but it’s rated moderate, since it’s rocky, and you climb 300 feet in that short distance.
Fall’s cooler weather is perfect for this hike, and you’ll be greeted with fantastic views of the island and the Great Salt Lake at the end. You’ll probably see some of the island’s famous wildlife, too, like wild buffalo, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope. Check the park’s website for fees and more information.
Another great hike for fall foliage, and it’s family friendly at just 3.5 miles there and back. You’ll see more aspens, meadows, and of course the lovely falls at the end of the trail.
If you go on a weekend, you probably won’t be alone, as this is a pretty popular and well-known trail. Just watch out for the slight drop down to the falls at the end.
This hike offers beautiful fall colors and a great view of Park City and the canyon. For the best foliage, take the right-hand trail when you reach a fork. It’s more of a climb, but definitely worth it.
The entrance to the Lost Prospector trail is on Aerie Drive, just past the state park (whose parking you may want to use if the trailhead lot is full).